EXPORTS are on track to meet the 3.5-per-cent growth estimate this year, but have a good chance of hitting 5 per cent if the global economy stays on the recovery path, according to the Thai National Shippers’ Council.
Wisit Limluecha, vice chairman of the trade group, said that year on year, export value jumped by 13.2 per cent to US$19.94 billion in May and by 7.21 per cent to $93 billion for the first five months of this year.
Given the projection of monthly exports of $18.5 billion for the latter half of this year after the spurt in trade across the world, exports could expand by 5 per cent as targeted by the government.
However, risks remain, particularly with the baht. The currency is continuing to trend up, which could raise costs and erode the competitiveness of exporters during the rest of the year.
The global prices of crude oil and rubber remain low and the prices of other commodities could follow.
Thailand’s trade partners may slow down their purchasing after stocking up on Thai products late last year, leaving them with large inventories.
Political developments and terrorism in other countries and the unclear US trade policy and trade-barrier measures put Thai exports at risk in the last six months of 2017.
The government should encourage operators to hedge against foreign-exchange risk and expedite solutions to labour problems in manufacturing, Wisit said.
State resources should also be allocated sufficiently, while the registration of alien workers should be facilitated. The upgrading of main ports should also be accelerated, he said.